196 The Enfant Terrible of Literature
My Reviewers' Sense of Need
My reviewers felt no sense of need to understand me—if
they had they would have developed the mental organism
which would have enabled them to do so. When the time
comes that they want to do so they will throw out a little
mental pseudopodium without much difficulty. They threw
it out when they wanted to misunderstand me—with a good
deal of the pseudo in it, too.
The Authoress of the Odyssey
The amount of pains which my reviewers have taken to
understand this book is not so great as to encourage the
belief that they would understand the Odyssey, however
much they studied it. Again, the people who could read the
Odyssey without coming to much the same conclusions as
mine are not likely to admit that they ought to have done so.
If a man tells me that a house in which I have long lived
is inconvenient, not to say unwholesome, and that I have
been very stupid in not finding this out for myself, I should
be apt in the first instance to tell him that he knew nothing
about it, and that I was quite comfortable; by and by, I
should begin to be a\vare that I was not so comfortable as I
thought I was, and in the end I should probably make the
suggested alterations in my house if, on reflection, I found
them sensibly conceived. But I should kick hard at first.
Homer and liis Commentators
Homeric commentators have been blind so long that
nothing will do for them but Homer must be blind too.
They have transferred their own blindness to the poet.
In the Iliad, civilisation bursts upon us as a strong stream
out of a rock. We know that the water has gathered from
many a distant vein underground, but we do not see these.
Or it is like the drawing up the curtain on the opening of a
play—the scene is then first revealed.